Bad baserunning and poor clutch hitting cost the Cardinals their first sweep of the season Sunday against Milwaukee.
Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia inexplicably failed to tag up and score on a fly ball to right from Matt Holliday when he was on third with one out in the fifth inning. And it came back to haunt him as the Cardinals lost 3-2 despite having seven men on base in the last two innings.
At the time of his stumble on the basepaths, Garcia was leading 1-0 and cruising. But he immediately surrendered a lead-off hit to Carlos Gomez to start off the sixth inning for Milwaukee. Gonzalez preened for the visiting bench after getting on base, giving himself a vigorous round of applause at first base before snapping a salute towards the third base dugout.
Garcia retired noted cheater Ryan Braun. But then he allowed a hit to Aramis Ramirez to tie the game Gomez stylishly slid across home plate -- despite the fact there was no play. And then Garica really boiled over. Jonathan Lucroy just missed a home run off the left field wall to give Milwaukee a 3-1 lead.
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In the top of the seventh, Gomez continued his show with a dramatic bat flip after he hit a towering blast to left field that ALMOST made it to the warning track.
The Cardinals had a chance to even things up in the bottom of the six and the bottom of the seventh. But each time they stranded two runners on base. In the bottom of the eight the Cardinals had two on and no outs. But they managed only one run to cut the score to 3-2.
In the bottom of the ninth the Birds had men on first and third with no outs. But David Freese and Yadier Molina both struck out and then the old double steal failed to end the game when Tyler Greene got a late jump from third and then never managed to touch the plate.
Freese stranded eight runners on base in the game while Molina hung four out to dry.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Rafael Furcal was 2-for-5.
Cardinals Play of the Game: In the top of the eighth, David Freese made a diving stab to rob Milwaukee of a hit.
Lowlight: All the stranded runners.